17 February 2014

Eighteen months old.

The Bubs is one and a half years old today, and I shall mark the occasion by penning down some thoughts about parenting before the time passes and slips through my fingertips.

***

My dearest baby girl,

How time flies! 18 months ago, I became a parent for the very first time. I wasn't sure if I could love someone I've never met face-to-face before - ultrasounds didn't count. Would you have your daddy's eyes and my toes? Would you have a sense of humour I could relate to? Would I genuinely like you and would I find you adorable? I mean, I know I HAVE to love you; it's the socially acceptable parent-y thing to do.

I also didn't know what kind of person you are, besides the fact that you liked to kick my rib cage during the day and that you did belly flips whenever I heard applause in my surroundings. I was also hardly interested in babies; kittens were cuter by far than babies in my book.

"I'm afraid I won't love my baby," I confided in The Hubs more than once.

When you first popped out, I heard a loud loud cry and thanked God that you were healthy. After the necessary measurements and weighing, the nurses pushed us into our room where we could finally rest after a gruelling and intense six hours.

As I drifted off to sleep, you cried loudly and inconsolably. It must have been really disconcerting, all the bright lights and strange smells. Your daddy placed you next to me and I put my arm around your tiny 3.05kg frame. For the first time, you slept next to me instead of inside of me. And for the first time, I experienced the unpredictable sleep cycle of an infant. We would drift off, grateful for the much needed rest, and you would cry out piteously. No matter how bone tired we were, your needs had to come first; all the time, any time. The world as we knew it screeched to a halt and unnaturally, awkwardly started arranging around your needs, one sleep deprived day at a time.

When did I start having those fuzzy gushy loving feelings about you? I can't put a specific moment to it, it crept up on me and swallowed me whole when I was not looking. Your dad proclaimed his effusive and enthusiastic adoration for you much earlier than I. When he gushed about how much, how very very much he adored you, I said "Huh. Sure." It was not that I didn't like you nor that I didn't care, far from it; I just was not "headily in love" nor "hopelessly infatuated" as other mothers seemed to be.

I didn't enjoy changing the bedsheets each time your poop overflowed from your diapers, but I would do it anyway with nary a frown. I didn't like the long time I took to recover from the birth process and the backaches that never went away, but that I accepted too, without any negativity. I also didn't know what to say to you or how to do the whole baby talk thing when you looked at me and I looked at you. Conversations were stilted and one-sided. "I love you, sweetheart", I said, trying the sound of my words as I waited for my heart to catch up with the emotions that the words promised.

But one thing I always knew even if I didn't always feel it - you are beyond precious. Off the charts. Nothing, no accomplishment, no accolades, can compare to how very precious you are.

You are so precious that I would go through the birthing process even though I had no idea how someone so big could exit my body into the world without causing serious pain and injury to the vessel. You are so precious that two selfish bums would put aside sleep and sanity to tend to your discomforts, real or imagined. You are so precious that anything that hurts you, hurts us too.

My heart melted when you smiled your first smile at me, and whenever you giggled our hearts would sing. But it was one day when you were several months old and sleeping peacefully that I looked upon you, that my heart just welled up with indescribable joy and love and it continued to overflow into my eyes and I cried, knowing that I love you with all my heart.

And I realised, this is but a poor copy of the way God loves us. How humbling, how comforting, how heart-breaking. Truly, to love another person is to see the face of God.

My dearest baby girl, we thank God from the bottom of our hearts for the precious gift that you are.

Are you considered a toddler now that you have gone past 18months?

Are you going to be a teenager in a blink of an eye?

Will you soon be taller, stronger, and smarter than me?

No matter how big you grow though, one thing's for sure.

You are always our dearest baby girl. The one whose poop once overflowed from her diaper onto the floor of a cafe. But that's a story for when we want to embarrass you in front of your friends next time.

16 September 2013

Bubbling over - life with the Bubs :)

Whenever people ask me how has this journey of parenthood been, I usually smile and say it's been good and The Bubs is a good girl, and I'll leave it at that. Then they'll follow up with the usual "are you getting enough sleep or rest? It must be tiring..." and I'll just nod and say ya it's more tiring but she's quite ok and again I'll smile and nod and kind of leave it there again.

It's hard to not boast and brag and gush non-stop about The Bubs without sounding too much like a raving fanatic from the Cult of The Bub once I start so I usually reign in my responses and mute it somewhat, because my honest answer would be "OMG SHE'S THE ABSOLUTE BEST BABY IN THE WORLD AND WE'RE BLESSED BEYOND MEASURE (BEYOND MEASURE!!!) THAT WE'RE HER PARENTS!!!! CAN YOU BELIEVE OUR GOOD FORTUNE????" and I'll mean every last word and then you'll back away slowly mumbling something about catching a flight and then you'll run away in case the condition is infectious. (It is, by the way. Once you meet The Bubs you'll be besotted. Promise. Let me show you her pictures... all 6 Gb worth...)

The Bubs is cheerful and cheeky with a wonderful sense of humour that is apparent at 13 months. She plays peekaboo with us, covering her own face with whatever cloth she can get a hold of and will unveil herself with an impish exclamation. We're so besotten with her laughter that we'll be complete clowns at home and in the public just to hear her giggles. When she totters towards us with outstretched arms and a toothy grin, our hearts melt and nothing is more important than scooping her up in our arms at that moment in time.

Before we became parents, we ridiculed couples whose Facebook profile pictures were that of their baby / babies. Have some sense of identity! we scorned. Get a life! The rest of the world isn't fixated on your kid's every minor and mind-numbingly boring achievements - in fact, the term "achievement" is already a bit of a misnomer. Get a grip of yourself and stop shoving baby minutiae into our faces on Facebook.

Now, we understand. Everything we had scorned before is what we're doing now. My baby's achievements are to be celebrated - again and again. And again. Nothing is more interesting than my baby's minutiae. No selfie is anywhere as fascinating as a picture of The Bub's toothy smile. Identity? It's right there - wrapped up in the baby swaddle.

Having a baby is like being in love all over again and we would brave through sleepless nights, thinned out wallets, eyebags and public humiliation just to keep her safe and happy.

21 June 2013

Father's Day - of Music and Lyrics

Father's day came and went without much fanfare.

I promised myself that I would write a story about my dad - because he is the best daddy in the world - as a keepsake for myself, and also to put on record that my dad is my hero.

***

Since the discovery of YouTube, my dad has become quite the YouTube addict and DJ. He trawls YouTube for songs of his youth and then googles the lyrics. He has also figured out how to manipulate the web browsers so that he can see both the video and the lyrics on the tiny screen of his netbook.

"Your daddy likes to listen to these oldies. It makes him feel like a young man again!" my mum would exclaim. "Now he is my personal DJ! When I sit here and play Angry Birds on the iPad, he will play songs for me to hear."

"Kai, come here and listen to this song. See the lyrics. The lyrics are so, so meaningful. Such beautiful lyrics!" my dad would sigh, and he would croon wistfully along to the song of his youth in his off-key, off-beat singing.

I have inherited my dad's obsession with lyrics. I am unable to listen to a song without listening out for its lyrics, and a lovely tune without meaningful lyrics is not worth listening to.

In recent times, with the arrival of The Bub Who Controls His Universe, my dad has stopped surfing the net for music videos as his schedule is dictated by the unpredictable sleep cycle of his precious granddaughter and her delicate dietary needs.

A typical morning for him involves waking up early to buy me coffee, watch me scarf down breakfast, followed by dropping us off. After that, he repeats the breakfast cycle with my brother. And then it's time for lunch with my mum.

A typical evening for him involves rushing home to grate half an apple, steaming some porridge, picking the bubs from infant care, preparing her bath, preparing her apple snack ("Ahhh! Aaa-pel. Aaa-pel!"), bringing her for a walk, feeding her, patting her to sleep, and then waiting for me to pick up the bubs.

I am blessed beyond measure to have him as my dad.

So as you can see, with the bubs around, there hardly is enough time for my dad to reminisce about the good old days and to surf YouTube anymore.

 However, just the other day, I learnt that he has been revisiting music and lyrics from a forgotten era in his life.

"Kai, what are the lyrics to Baa Baa Black Sheep?"

05 May 2013

Breath

Oh, the brevity of life.
A kiss, a sigh, a wave goodbye.

Please stay a moment longer. Please tarry just a bit. Please. Just... please.

Do your fingers feel number? Are your feet a little colder? Is God a little nearer?

I understand. I don't understand. I fear. I do not fear. Please stay. Please go. Please, above all, have God's abiding peace.

Goodbye, goodbye. We will meet again, by and by.

Don't fear, Daddy's here. He will comfort you in the dark cold night. He promises a warm, eternal light.

Peace. Oh abiding peace. Please stay and never leave.

01 May 2013

On starting writing again part deux

So I showed the blog post to the Husband over brunch which he read hurriedly in between mouthfuls and balancing a squirmy Bub on his lap while skilfully avoiding a disaster potentially involving iced tea. I asked him what he thought of it and he smiled, saying it's nice.

He also asked "What are Birkins?" and with a flash of enlightenment said "ohhhh, Birkenstocks ah?"

Yes dear, yes.

I'd like a pair of Birkins please.

On starting writing again

Hello blog, it's been a while. In between the last time I blogged and now, my life has changed some and remained the same some. And life is good, because God is good.

The biggest change in my life is the addition of a little bub, our precious angel cutie pie who keeps us up at night and kicks us awake in the morning - the Bubs. And here I'll refrain from gushing about how cute and adorable she really is, because I'll only use superlatives (and mean every last word) and because words won't do justice to how much we adore her.

But I'll say this - having a baby certainly accentuates the simplest pleasures in life. The best part of the day is waking up and feeling the little warm bun next to you and the moment is yours to savour as you thank God for her and The Husband, before she wakes up and cries for her milk and your day starts in full force once again. The other best part of the day is giggling in bed as a happy trio while making fart noises and playing peek a boo with blankets stained with snot and drool. The OTHER best part of the day is when you go home after a long day and get to hug a smiling wriggling drooling bundle.

Right now we're out for brunch - the best part of the day - and it's clichéd but true, that with a kiddo, your bank account is smaller and your clothes are shabbier and your figure is... well, fuller, but I wouldn't change anything for a thousand limited edition Birkins in the world.

22 May 2010

Fighting a Losing Battle

There is this uneasy truce at home now -- we don't lock up the cat and she doesn't emotionally blackmail us with her wails and whines. With that, we've learnt that an exercise in futility is doing housework when there's a cat around that refuses to be locked up. After cleaning the toilet where its kitty litter is placed, all it needs to do is pay the tray a visit, and voila, litter scattered all over. After vacuuming every corner of the floor, it will inexplicably be covered by a light layer of fur.

Perhaps all I need to do is to go with the flow -- why do housework when clearly it doesn't make a difference to our living standards? The time spent could be better used to play Plants Vs Zombies, and that much more pleasurable too.

Right now, HoudiMimi likes to scratch my shoe bag, which I've left on the floor, near the door. The Husband thinks that we should encourage HoudiMimi to scratch the shoe bag, lest it develops an unhealthy taste for scratching wood, in which case our house will be destroyed, since we have a penchant for wooden furniture.

Our last bastion is the bedrooms and the storeroom. The Iron-Willed Cat seems hellbent on exploring these areas. We'll see how long we can last. May the force be with us.

13 May 2010

Houdini In Da House

The Cat has figured out how to open the toilet door. It has tasted freedom and now refuses to be locked up in a spacious toilet with everything it needs. No, that is no longer enough; it now wants the Dining Table, the Full Length Curtains, and my Shoe Bag.

It's now a free cat, roaming our house as it likes.

Intuition and I are defeated by HoudiMimi, a scarily smart cat that has figured out the intricacies of The Toilet Door and The Storeroom Door.

It responds to scoldings by acting super duper cute, such that we will drop our harsh tone and succumb to its charms, dropping to our knees, scratching its chin, saying "ooohhh you sho cute, you sho cute..."

We're so doomed.